Featured in this article:
  • Churches pay for billboards to oppose new casino
  • 'Vote Yes' campaign touts economic benefits of proposed casino

Living in the Virginia area and see any interesting billboards lately? If you hate casinos, you’re in luck.

A coalition of eight churches have paid for billboards to promote voting against a $400 million proposed casino in Virginia at the now-vacant Bristol Mall. Whether or not the casino is built depends on a referendum in the upcoming November Election. Currently, there’s a strong ‘Vote Yes’ campaign, encouraging citizens to vote in favor of the casino, which efforts from the churches’ coalition aims to stop.

One billboard reads, “What would Jesus do? He would definitely vote no on the casino referendum.” Another billboard, in strong, bold, black font reads, ‘IT’S A FACT. Where Casinos Go Up, Communities Go Down. VOTE NO on November 3rd.’ A third reads “Bristol, Don’t Be Fooled. All That Glitters is Not Gold! A Casino Is Fool’s Gold! VOTE NO!’

billboard against virginia casino hotel

One of the billboards featured in Bristol, Virginia. (Image: WJHL)

Virginia Hard Rock Casino

Billboards are just the star of the show, with yard signs and a website promoted, too. Churches opposing the referendum and participating in the ‘Vote No’ campaign include Fellowship Chapel, Belle Meadows Baptist and Throne of Grace Baptist Tabernacle churches.

“I can’t see anything good, long-term, coming from a casino,” said Scott Price, pastor at Fellowship Chapel.

Why Residents Rally for Proposed Virginia Hard Rock Casino

Those who support the proposed Hard Rock Hotel and Casino resort say it will be beneficial for tourism, tax revenue, job creation and general economic impact for Bristol and neighboring Southwest Virginia. Members of the ‘Vote Yes for Bristol’ campaign include the United Company, Par Ventures and Hard Rock International, plus many small businesses in the Southwest Virginia area also support the proposed casino. More notable names in the campaign include Jim Allen, Hard Rock International Chairman and CEO of Seminole Gaming.

jim allen hard rock international ceo and chairman gives speech in atlantic city behind podium

Jim Allen, Hard Rock International CEO.

When it comes to the campaign in favor of the proposed casino, United Company General Counsel Jasen Eige says. “This is essentially like any other campaign that you might think, we just don’t have a candidate. The candidate really is Bristol, and what this project can do for Bristol.’

What are some economic benefits of the proposed casino & resort? The ’Vote Yes for Bristol’ campaign says the proposed casino would:

  • Create over 2,000 jobs
  • Average about $46,500 when it comes to employee salaries
  • Generate $16-21 million in new annual tax revenue
  • Bring more than 4 million annual visitors to the region

If the proposed casino goes through, casino patrons won’t have to wait to use the casino either. The Hard Rock Casino in Bristol plans to apply for a temporary casino license, which allows casino gaming while construction occurs.

Bristol Mall PAC Spends Big for Casino

In other related news, the Bristol Mall Casino PAC associated with the ‘Vote Yes’ campaign, ‘Betting on Virginia Jobs’ has given over $600,000 to Virginia lawmakers, marking another bold move to ensure the casino comes to fruition.

The PAC contributed:

  • $50,000 to Senate Minority leader Tommy Noment
  • $30,000 to Senate Majority leader Dick Saslaw
  • $25,000 to current House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn.
  • Approximately $20,000 to Delegate Terry Kilgore


Don’t leave the couch to play at the casino—Check out expert-vetted reviews of our favorite online casinos here, or, learn more about sportsbetting in Virginia.

Veronica Taylor

Veronica Taylor is a card game enthusiast who you can find checking out the latest themed online casino games or sports betting trends. When she’s not writing about what’s new in the gambling world and industry (both online and on land), you can find her watching the NBA and looking up assorted player facts. (Did you know Lebron snacks on apples and almond butter everyday?)

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